MEPs seek better passenger protection against airline collapse

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Members of the European Parliament are proposing that the European Commission acts protect passengers against airline bankruptcy.

Parliament has adopted a resolution asking the Commission to put forward legislation to prevent passengers being stranded should their booked carrier collapse.

Members have suggested a reserve compensation fund as a possibility but are leaving a precise mechanism open to discussion.

Passengers on certain airlines - such as those operating package holiday charter flights - are already covered by protection schemes. But these do not extend to all air travel sectors.

Parliament's transport committee chair, Brian Simpson, opened a debate on the matter in October and pointed out that nearly 80 EU airlines had collapsed since 2000.

While legislation compensates passengers for denied boarding and delays, Simpson says the bankruptcy problem is a "loophole that needs to be closed".

He says that the failure of SkyEurope, and that of XL Airways last year, left passengers without accommodation or a return flight.

Simpson adds that these passengers often do not have the financial means to rectify the problem, and states that the situation is "not acceptable".

European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani says that the issue requires maximising use of all the tools currently available but agrees that passengers need better protection.

He describes the matter as a "complicated problem" that requires careful evaluation of possible measures.